The moment Dolphins fans heard the news that their prize of the offseason, Jalen Ramsey, will miss time due to meniscus surgery, a collective gasp of, ‘here we go again’ was let out across the fanbase. Ramsey is, without doubt at worst, a top 3 DB in the NFL, with many having him ranked #1. Certainly, a major hit to the defense, but at the same time, the Dolphins do have depth in the backfield that should help lessen this blow.
Not many of us were immediately thrilled during the ’23 NFL Draft when the 2nd round selection of Cam Smith was announced at pick 51. Fairly certain there wasn’t a fan that was not pounding the table for a tight end, especially when there were many perceived high-level talents in the tight end pool still available. Then came increased reports on Cam Smith, his playstyle, the ‘dog’ in him that he plays with, as well as his relentless attack to the ball. The more you heard, the more you read about the kid, which alleviated some concerns over time. Personally, I had to look him up to see what we had just picked. And if I am being honest, I was fairly excited. Miami’s defense, albeit used the past couple of years (cover 0, anybody) suspiciously, had plenty of playmakers, but none that truly screamed out dog, attitude, etc. That changed immediately upon the trade for Ramsey. The talent equals the confidence, and he surely isn’t afraid to let the wide receivers know. Someone this defense has been lacking since the Brian Cox days. Ramsey then goes down, and immediately Cam Smith comes into the conversation; how many reports are we all seeing that this was a great, depth draft pick for Miami? We still have ‘Darth’ Kader Kohou, who went from undrafted free agent to the #3 rated coverage corner for the 2022 season. Suddenly things do not seem as worrisome as we all initially felt. Losing a player of Ramsey’s caliber hurts mightily, but will this devastate this defense?
Cam Smith put up 91 total tackles, 18 pass breakups, and six interceptions in his career at South Carolina, which of course, is in the SEC, the toughest conference in college football. Cam’s college head coach, Shane Beamer, has spoken highly of his former player. A competitor comes up quite often when describing Cam, fierceness, and lock-down, all traits that NFL coaches look for. The way he is a student of the game equates to a high football IQ. Confidence is also something that he does not lack in spades. When he was approached with questions regarding Ramsey going down, without hesitation, his first response was, “I was already planning on playing.” Does not sound like your typical rookie, entering his first camp just being happy to be on the team. Coach McDaniel has gone on record saying that he has been happy with his ‘daily investment,’ but as all rookies go through, there are steps forward and steps backward. Each day in camp moves that needle slightly forward. His talent is witnessed each day of camp. Going against these wide receivers that Miami throws out there can and should be intimidating for most defensive backs, let alone a rookie. But he appears to be handling his own. And the age-old iron sharpens iron cannot be enforced enough. Sam Madison has said he sees much of himself in Cam Smith. Words that all Dolphins fans surely hope for comes true, and quickly!